US approves Bezos’ Blue Origin license for human space travel

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Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, inspects New Shepard’s West Texas launch facility before the rocket’s maiden voyage. (Photo: Courtesy, Blue Origin)

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin had received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to carry humans on the New Shepard rocket into space on July 20.

The company was required to verify the rocket’s hardware and software worked safely during a test flight and the FAA confirmed it met regulatory requirements.

Bezos, his brother Mark, aviation pioneer Mary Wallace ‘Wally’ Funk and three other passengers are now set to liftoff from west Texas and travel just beyond the edge of space, the Daily Mail reported.

One of the tourists is the unnamed auction winner who paid $28 million for a seat — their identity is set to be revealed in the coming days.

Blue Origin’s news comes just days after Richard Branson launched to the edge of space aboard Virgin Galactic’s first fully crewed flight on Sunday, in which Bezos said he “can’t wait to join the club”.

Bezos chose July 20 as the launch date to honour the 52nd anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Funk is an “honoured guest” for the mission, one of the last surviving members of the Mercury 13 mission.

The launch site for Blue Origin’s first human flight will be in a remote location north of Van Horn, Texas, where the firm has launched New Shepard for previous flights.

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